Finn Valtteri Bottas (32) achieved his 10th Formula 1 victory, while Max Verstappen (24) took the World Cup lead from Lewis Hamilton (36) after Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.
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It was a strange Turkish Grand Prix where it was very wet on the track from the start, and it didn’t dry out enough for the drivers to switch to no-pattern slicks tires. Bottas took his first win of the year.
Verstappen is now six points ahead of Hamilton in the World Cup recap. They finished second and fifth respectively.
Mercedes thought for a while that Lewis Hamilton could drive on the same tires for the entire race, but after 51 of 58 laps, they still chose to take the Brit in for a tire change.
Lewis Hamilton disagreed at all with the Mercedes management decision. He thought it would have been better to drop the tire change:
– Leave me alone, he finally yelled into the team radio.
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Beforehand, he separated two points in the World Cup summary, with Hamilton’s lead ahead of Verstappen.
The Istanbul course is 5.3 km long, with steep slopes and some sharp turns. It was wet when the race started and the drivers started on intermediate tires.
Valtteri Bottas had the best starting track, followed by Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton was the best in qualifying, but the team decided to replace his car’s internal combustion engine and was therefore penalized ten places on the starting plate. This meant that he had starting position number 11.
The current world champion decided to be careful at the beginning, on wet ground. He was far behind Yuki Tsunoda, but he made an impressive pass on the outside. He then went on to Lance Stroll and Lando Norris, and then to Pierre Gasly, which meant he had advanced from 11th to 5th place for the first 15 rounds.
But it had cost tires, and Hamilton informed the depot that the tire pattern had worn away.
At the front of the field, Verstappen held up surprisingly well with Valtteri Bottas, and Charles Leclerc at Ferrari was not far behind in third place either.
Most people tried to delay the tire change for as long as possible, hoping it would dry out enough that they could drive on flat tires without a pattern. But the track didn’t dry fast enough.
Sebastian Vettel took a chance, switched to slick tires and finished as a rounding buoy. He had to bite into the sour apple and put on a new set of intermediate tires and thus lost a lot.
Verstappen and Hamilton eventually remained number three and four, and number two and three after Charles Leclerc changed the tires. It was near perfect for Hamilton considering the engine change penalty. But then there was a tire change and fifth place in the current world champion.
Carlos Sainz jr and Daninel Ricciardo started at the rear after changing both the engine and other parts, in the same way as Max Verstappen in Sochi. Sainz impressed tremendously and moved up to 10th place before 15 laps had been run. The Spaniard finally finished eighth.
Lando Norris had something to prove after his pit mistake last race. The McLaren driver started in the seventh exit lane and stayed there.